A work once said to have “…set the course for the modern world by its effective destruction of the anthropocentric view of the universe” made a rare auction appearance.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay
Sold for a record $160,000 (£125,985) at Christie’s New York (25/20/12.5%) was De lateribus et angulis triangulorum…, one of only three copies of a 1542 work by Copernicus seen at auction in the last 40 years.
His translation into Latin prose of some Greek verses by a 7th century Byzantine historian, Theophylact Simocatta, had been printed in Cracow as early as 1509, but this was the only original work by Copernicus to be printed before the momentous, deathbed publication of De Revolutionibus in 1543.
It comprises the section on plane and spherical trigonometry that appeared in that great work, along with the first publication of the trigonometric tables of his pupil, Georg Rheticus, who also added a preface and oversaw the book’s printing in Wittenberg.
The auction took place on December 4.